An Indulgent Steak

Sometimes, I crave a good steak. Because my BBQ is put away for the winter (as we often do in Canada), that can be problematic at times. However, I also happen to have a cast iron pan, which does the trick of searing a steak nicely when the weather is too cold for BBQing.

Steak (beef) is not something one typically finds in old recipebooks. Bartolomeo Scappi, in his 1570 Opera, includes recipes for beef tenderloin, beef ribs, beef shanks, and beef liver that often includes spices like fennel, pepper, cinnamon, and bacon lardons. The beef cuts he mentions tended to be boiled, stewed, or spit-roasted. Steak as we know it tends to pop up a century or two later, with institutions such as chophouses and beefsteak clubs in London (for men only).

Canada happens to have a robust beef industry, especially in Alberta, where there have been large ranches of cattle, including Angus, Charolais, Hereford, and Simmental breeds, for over a century. Although I live on the other side of the country, Alberta beef is shipped across Canada and the world, giving us delicious steaks and many other cuts of beef.

I found a rather tasty recipe for steak with roasted garlic and herb butter on the Food and Wine website that I was keen to try, but, as per usual, I modified a few things to suite my taste. This recipe can easily be adapted to serve as many or as few people as you have steaks. Any leftover steak can be sliced and served the next day. It is excellent as a cold steak sandwich, or even accompanied by a salad.

Indulgent Steak with Garlic-Herb Butter

Serves 4

1 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

4 steaks, about 1 1/2 inches thick (I like sirloin steaks)

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
8 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano
4 tablespoons butter, softened

1. Preheat the oven to 275°.
2. In a bowl, mix the marinade ingredients. Divide paste into four, and rub a portion all over each steak. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
3. Meanwhile, on a double-layer square of aluminium foil, toss the garlic with the herbs; drizzle the on top. Fold the foil to enclose the garlic and transfer to a baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes, until the garlic is very soft.
4. When the garlic is cool, squeeze the cloves from their skins into a bowl; add the herbs. Using a fork, mash the garlic with the herbs and butter. Spoon the garlic butter onto a sheet of plastic wrap, roll into a log and refrigerate until firm, 30 minutes.
5. For the stove-top method, preheat cast-iron pan on medium-high heat until smoking.
6. Unwrap each steak and sear for about 6 minutes, turning once, for rare meat. For medium, about 9 minutes, turning them once halfway through.
7. Top the steaks with the garlic-herb butter and let stand for 5 minutes, then serve.

Note: With the stove-top method, the marinade will burn a bit but it will help to form a nice crust on the exterior of the steak.

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